Caring Animal Hospital
Winter Newsletter 2020
Feline Scratching Behavior
Did you know that besides inappropriate urination, destructive scratching is the #1 reason cats are relinquished to a shelter or shunned outside? What many people don’t know is that feline scratching is an important natural behavior. It aids in the shedding of old nails, flexes and exercises muscles for hunting, and it is used for marking territory. Cats will usually perform this behavior after eating, waking up from a nap, or when anxious or stressed. The good news is that there are ways to train your cat to scratch on appropriate surfaces; you just need to discover your cat’s preferences.
Some cats have specific textures they like. In studies, rope was found to be the #1 preferred texture for cats. That doesn’t mean ALL cats like that texture. Other substrates that seem to be effective are carpet and cardboard. Having a post with multiple types of substrates may be beneficial.
When choosing a scratching apparatus, you need to be sure that it provides vertical & horizontal surfaces for scratching, as most cats prefer both. It is important to make sure the scratching post is stable & won’t fall over and that it is tall or long enough for the cat to stretch out to use. Once you find a post and are choosing its location, first try an area in which your family spends a lot of time. The areas you should avoid are, near the litter box or near your cat’s food & water dishes.
Now you can start training your cat to use appropriate surfaces for scratching and there are a few products that may help it go better. Catnip can be used to entice a cat to use a scratching post, but this doesn’t always work for every cat. There is also a product by CEVA called Feliscratch, a blue liquid that is easy for cats to see and emits pheromones to help attract your cat. If you find your cat won’t use a certain scratching post within a couple weeks, replace it with a different one. This may happen a few times until you find the right one.
During training, keep in mind the following tips. Frequent nail trims will make the cats feet more comfortable and more willing to use the scratching posts. We recommend nail trims be done every 4-6 weeks. NEVER punish a cat for having inappropriate scratching. This will decrease the human-animal bond and can also lead to other unwanted behaviors. If you have tried our tips and are still having destructive scratching, call us for a behavior consult to pursue more aggressive treatment.
Exotic Corner: Sugar Gliders
These charming, highly social animals are great companions for people who are willing to commit the time and energy required to fulfill their attention needs. Anyone considering adding a sugar glider to their family should consider adopting more than one, as they are social creatures and thrive in small groups. Sugar gliders are known for their clean, cuddly, and relatively quiet personalities. The average lifespan of a sugar glider is 10-15 years. They are nocturnal marsupials native to Australia. They are omnivores and can glide for up to 150ft at a time.
Sugar gliders are becoming an increasingly popular pet, but there are many specific dietary and housing requirements that don’t make them the lowest maintenance small mammal. If their husbandry is inappropriate, it often results in illness. Gliders are prone to becoming obese or malnourished if not given the proper diet. They can develop behavioral disorders from stress if they aren’t socialized appropriately. Sugar gliders are susceptible to internal and external parasites, respiratory infections, and gastrointestinal issues.
The best part of being the owner of a sugar glider is connecting with him/her in a special way so that you will become very close companions. The best time to socialize a glider is when the joey is 7-12 weeks out of the pouch. When you first get your glider, it may fuss or make a funny sound, called crabbing. It is appropriate to carry your glider with you frequently while training. Males left unneutered will mark their cages with urine.
Sugar Gliders need a well-balanced diet with a fair amount of variation. Gliders should be fed a portion of fresh fruits or vegetables daily. We suggest feeding them a single fruit or veggie each day and varying the choice each day. Gliders tend to prefer fruits and vegetables that have a sweet taste. We are strong advocates of sugar gliders getting at least 50% protein in their diets. We suggest using the following for protein sources and vary them each night: fresh cooked lean meats with no spices and diced into small pieces, chicken or turkey baby food, mealworms, crickets, tofu, and boiled/scrambled eggs. You can also alternate yogurt (with fruit) and cottage cheese as part of this category. Sugar gliders can be picky eaters. So, even with a well-balanced diet, your pet may be lacking important vitamins and minerals. Even though gliders aren’t reptiles, a reptile multivitamin and calcium with D3 supplements can be used to help make sure you have a happy, healthy pet. We recommend using Rep-Cal, Herptivite, Glideraide, Supreme blend, or Lory nectar and sprinkling a small amount on your fresh fruits/veggies or insects daily.
Elizabeth (Beth) Giguere
Beth started with us in September of 2017. She is a graduate of Wayne State University with a BS degree in biology. Prior to coming to Caring Animal Hospital, she worked many years in the veterinary field as a technician. She has experience in emergency medicine and wildlife rehabilitation, but her favorite part of veterinary medicine is patient care.
Beth lives in Olivet with her husband and 2 boys. They currently have a dog, 2 calico cats, and 6 chickens. Beth enjoys hiking and being outdoors with her family, watching her boys play basketball, soccer, and baseball, and just spending time at home.
If your pet is on a prescription diet that you purchase through us, we recommend calling ahead to be sure we have it in stock. If we need to order it, we must know by Thursday before 6pm.
Dental Health Month:
It is that time of year again, Dental Health Month! We will be offering 10% off all C.O.R.E (Comprehensive Oral & Radiographic Exam) appointments scheduled on the following dates:
Be sure to schedule early since we fill up fast!
The clinic will be closing early February 19th at 5:30pm and will be closed all day on February 20th & 21st, due to all staff attending Continuing Education out of state. If you have an emergency during this time, please call the MSU Small Animal Clinic at 517-353-5420. Thank you!
Winter Issue 2020 * (517) 694-6766* www.caringanimalhosptial.net * Happy Pets. Caring People. Quality Medicine.
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